MS-CONNECT

Towards a clinical decision support system for multiple sclerosis

The project goal is to develop MS-CONNECT, a bioinformatics platform to support clinical decision making in neurology. MS-CONNECT allows the in-depth analysis of changes in neural ‘wiring’ in the brain (connectomics). It is based on Biomax’ existing NeuroXM platform, that offers secure patient data management and analysis (artificial intelligence) of brain data.

Similar to the field of genomics, the field of connectomics holds enormous value for to revolutionize clinical diagnostics. Among others, the added value of connectomics lies in its ability to connect functional and structural connectivity, whereas traditional measures, like the number of lesions on a traditional MRI hold little explanatory power regarding the patient functioning.

Reorganization of brain connections is a common characteristic of many brain diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Current diagnosis of brain diseases relies on behavioural and neurophysiological testing in combination with structural brain imaging, using e.g. CT and MRI.  These readouts alone are insufficient for clinical decision making, as they are not able to detect changes in brain connectivity. 

MS-CONNECT uses big data analytics to integrate clinical data with imaging data from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), functional MRI (fMRI) and magnetencephalography (MEG) to create a virtual wiring diagram of all connections in the brain (the connectome). 

The use of connectomics in clinical neuroscience has enormous potential in improving patient and disease characterization, optimizing treatment efficacy and prediction of disease progression. Disruptive research initiatives, like the ‘Human Brain Project’, drive this new era in neuroscience. Still, mainly due to the high complexity and large volumes of data, commercial tools to implement connectomics into clinical practice are lacking. 

Figure 3. The MS-CONNECT platform integrates traditional clinical data and connectomics into one comprehensive solution.

This European consortium consists of four collaborating partners. Beside Biomax Informatics the following partners are involved in MS-CONNECT:

Department of Anatomy & Neurosciences, VU University Medical Center, Netherlands

Translational Imaging in Neurology (ThINk) Basel. Neurologic Clinic and Policlinic, University Hospital Basel. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel, Switzerland

PPi Healthcare Consulting Ltd

The Eurostars project MS-CONNECT is generously supported by the German Federal Ministery of Education and Research (BmbF) grant number 01QE2025A.